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The Job Market: Careers by Culture Representation

The Job Market: Careers by Culture Representation

The world of jobs is so vast; there are so many different jobs and career paths to pursue, but do particular cultures have a tendency to choose certain career paths or jobs? Or are specific cultures more likely to be chosen for a specific job, resulting in more people of that culture prevalent in that career? Do stereotypes and cultural expectation really drive the type of job one has?

According to the Atlantic, the workforce in the United States is less diverse than we think. In fact, an analysis of ethnicities and their likelihood of being unemployed in the US shows that black unemployment is the highest, followed by Hispanic unemployment, then white unemployment. Unfortunately, it is safe to conclude that ethnicity and race play a large role in determining the likelihood of employment.

Here is a graph showing the old-age trends of unemployment by ethnicities: unfortunately, the trend has persisted for four decades, and current trends seem to mirror past patterns

Furthermore, another general trend evident in the US job market is that people of color tend to have lower-paying jobs, while white people tend to hold jobs that are higher-paying, with many more benefits such as medical insurance, healthcare coverage, paid leaves, and many more.

Not only is there a relationship between ethnicity and the type of job one has, but ethnicity also has a heavy effect on the wages and pay, supported by this statistic from 2012:

Moreover, different races and ethnicities do tend to exhibit certain trends, such as high school graduation rate, unemployment and employment rates, tendency to seek higher education, class of job and type of job.

Hispanics, for example, account for approximately 15% of all jobs, but a whopping 36% of all high school dropouts. They make up about 50% of all farm workers and laborers, 44% of grounds maintenance workers, and 43 percent of maids and house cleaners. Blacks, who make up just 11% of the workforce, account for more than a 30% of home health aides and about 25% of both security guards and bus drivers.

Contrastingly, Whites make up more than 80% of the country's workers. However, they account for nearly all farm managers and ranchers (96%) construction managers (92%), carpenters (91%), and CEOs (90%). Asian-Americans account for 5% of the workforce, but also 60% of personal appearance workers, (e.g. hairdressers, nail salon workers), 29% of software developers, and nearly one in five physicians and surgeons.

These statistics imply that at least two things, independent of each other yet simultaneously, are in play. Firstly, it's likely that network effects within racial and ethnic communities have contributed to certain professions having high concentrations of certain groups. Secondly, the stratification of work probably suggests that there are underlying education (and family) differences.

Unfortunately, there is a lack of diversity in many careers, seeing higher-than-average numbers of certain ethnic and racial groups, however, a culture of breaking stigmas surrounding career paths and educational merit, the job market can more accurately represent and celebrate the world’s diverse cultures, races and ethnicities.

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